AMD is gaining a few backers just above the netbook segment with the E and C-series APUs, bringing solid performance and graphics to small laptops without having to sacrifice too much battery life. Soon, these chips will be joined by the A-series, codenamed "Llano", which is aimed squarely at mainstream notebook and desktop PCs. Naturally there's plenty of anticipation to see how they fare against Intel's Sandy Bridge competition and today AMD is offering a little glimpse.
In a recent post at the company's Fusion Blog, director of the client technology unit Godfrey Cheng starts off by explaining that they have given much more importance to parallel processing in their Fusion APUs rather than focusing on classic x86 performance like their blue competitor. Cheng notes that AMD's processors aren't exactly x86 slouches, but the difference in performance among different brands of chips in classic x86 workloads is virtually indistinguishable for an average user. Instead he argues that AMD sees more value in GPU performance and the ability to multitask.
"We are no longer chasing the Phantom x86 Bottleneck," says Cheng. "AMD continues to invest in x86 performance. With our Bulldozer core and in future Bulldozer-based products, we are designing for faster and more efficient x86 performance; however, AMD is seeking to deliver a balance of graphics, video, compute and x86 capabilities and we are confident our APUs provide the best recipe for the great majority of consumers."
To back his words the video above compares a shipping Intel Core i7-2630QM Sandy Bridge mobile processor against a quad-core "A8-3510MX". AMD hasn't provided any specific details regarding the chip, but the video mentions it is built on top of the company's Llano architecture and packs an on-die Radeon HD 6620M graphics core.
Both chips are put through a series of tests on similar systems to showcase their multi-tasking ability and performance as well as their power consumption. As you can see, the A-series Fusion APU fares quite well. Of course we'll reserve judgment until we can run one through our usual set of tests, and see if the difference in raw x86 performance for more traditional tasks is as negligible as AMD claims, but so far it looks to be a very promising product.